Emina Kožljak and Sinan Kožljak v. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Systemic Practice | Relatives as Victims | State/Non-State Agents | Effective Remedy | Duty to Investigate | Duty to Prosecute
The Committee recalled that the term “enforced disappearance” may include to disappearances initiated by forces independent of or hostile to a State, and holding that in such a case the State may face particular difficulties in investigating crimes that may have been committed on its territory. The Committee thus found that the fact that the victim's fate had not yet been clarified and the culprits had not yet been brought to justice was not sufficient in itself to find a violation of the obligation to investigate allegations of enforced disappearances. However, in light of the fact that the authorities did not contact the victim's family for information regarding the disappearance and did not comply with the Constitutional Court's decision, the Committee found a violation of the victim's right to life, right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment, and right to liberty and security. The Committee also made a finding of inhuman treatment with respect to the victim's family, in light of the anguish and distress caused to them by the continuing uncertainty resulting from the disappearance.
October 28, 2014
Article 2(3) [ICCPR], Article 6 [ICCPR], Article 7 [ICCPR], Article 9 [ICCPR]
Articles not violated / not dealt with
Article 2(3) [ICCPR], Article 7 [ICCPR], Article 16 [ICCPR]
Facts of the Case
In the context of the armed conflict taking place in the country, members of the Yugoslav National Army apprehended a number of civilians in July 1992 in an area which was under the control of the Serbian Democratic Party and in which a variety of Serb paramilitaries were operating. According to witnesses, the men were taken to a meadow where they were beaten and tortured. Having learned about the abduction and possible execution of the men, Mr. Ramiz Kožljak decided to escape to a nearby village which was under the control of the Yugoslav National Army in order to save his life. His fate and whereabouts are unknown since then and his remains have not been identified. In 1993, Mr. Kožljak's son obtained a list of the names of those allegedly captured and arbitrarily executed at the relevant place and date by the Yugoslav National Army, which included the name of his father. In spite of all the complaints filed by Mr. Kožljak's relatives to a number of authorities, no investigation has been carried out in order to locate Mr. Kožljak, or to identify his remains, even after the conflict came to an end in December 1995. In September 2005, Mr. Kožljak's wife obtained certificates declaring that Mr. Kožljak had been registered as a missing person since July 1992 by both national authorities and the ICRC. Despite a 2006 Constitutional Court's decision ordering the authorities to provide all accessible and available information on people who went missing during the war, the relevant institutions did not provide any information on the fate and whereabouts of Mr. Kožljak.